Holt Sucks Up to Murthy, Frets WH ‘Failed to Recognize the Depth of Resistance’ on Covid


NBC Nightly News anchor Lester “fairness is overrated” Holt reminded viewers on Monday of how his self-described moniker was well-earned as he repeatedly sucked up to Biden Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy about bringing back coronavirus restrictions and absolve the administration of blame for failing to achieve its vaccination goals.

But it was Holt’s question on vaccine “disinformation” that employed the classic liberal media trope of not so much asking a question as taking an moment to stick it to conservatives by blaming them for whenever something goes wrong.

 

 

Noting the Biden administration’s disdain for Facebook and blaming them for “false hoax stories” that are supposedly the source of blame for the vaccination rate, Holt fretted: “Is it fair to say that the administration failed to recognize the depth of resistance and the political depths that we’ve seen?”

For those that have followed the MRC and NewsBusters for a some time, you’d recall one category that would befit that question that we handed out at our galas and year-end Notable Quotables Worst of the Worst awards: Damn Those Conservatives to Hell.

Instead of admitting their support for censorship of dissent was antithetical to the First Amendment or realizing that they themselves have been polarizing, liberals do what they do best in doubling down on division and refuse to admit missteps. Because who needs conservative media…or something.

At any rate, Murthy was pleased how Holt placed the ball on a tee for him to lament how “the pandemic has been polarized…in ways that have not been helpful” and that coronavirus misinformation “costs people their lives” (which could be interpreted as the freedom to seek out alternative forms of media).

No one denies that there are irresponsible falsehoods on the internet, including on the coronavirus and vaccines. But aside from the debate about censorship, shouldn’t there also be a realization that it’s more than just right-of-center Americans who aren’t getting the shots?

Rewind to the beginning and Holt started by asking Murthy about the urging from the Academy of Pediatrics that all teachers and students wear masks, regardless of whether they’ve all been vaccinated.

Murthy insinuated without pushback that universal school masking was the way to go since “masks are an effective strategy for preventing the spread of infection.”

Holt continued to play the role of chaperone for the administration, asking if the Los Angeles mask mandate was a preview of a possible nationwide mask mandate (via CDC guidance).

Murthy dutifully replied in the affirmative, adding that it’s “something you’re going to start seeing in the other parts of the country if cases rise in localities, continue to rise, and if the unvaccinated population remains low and I think it’s very appropriate for localities to make these decisions[.]”

Holt’s only half-decent question came next when he wondered if reinstituting restrictions but it lost value when he added a qualifier from the left (click “expand”):

HOLT: Does this make a statement about the efficacy of the vaccines? Or is this simply a way of saying, “we simply don’t know who is vaccinated and who is not, so let’s put masks on everyone indoors?” 

MURTHY: Well, Lester, it’s not a statement about the efficacy of the vaccine. Because here’s what we’ve continued to see throughout this pandemic is that the vaccines remain highly effective, even against the variants that we’re seeing. The worry, though, is we’ve got millions of people in our country who are still unvaccinated. And what we don’t want to see are worsening numbers of cases, hospitalizations, and death. It’s already starting to happen.

And after that final question about Facebook, the excerpts came to an end. No pushback on how members of the administration cast doubt on the vaccines during the Trump administration or how members of their own party created a world in which COVID-19 restrictions never fully applied to them.

NBC’s softball interview was made possible thanks to advertisers such as ADT and Prevagen. Follow the links to see their contact information at the MRC’s Conservatives Fight Back page.

To see the relevant NBC transcript from July 19, click “expand.”

NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt
July 19, 2021
7:07 p.m. Eastern

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Breaking News; Surgeon General One-on-One]

HOLT: I spoke with U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy earlier, and began by asking him his reaction to the Academy of Pediatrics recommendation for universal mask wearing in schools this fall for both the vaccinated and unvaccinated.

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Breaking News; Murthy: As Cases Rise, More Cities Could Reinstate Masks]

DR. VIVEK MURTHY: Lester, what we learned during this pandemic is that masks are an effective strategy for preventing the spread of infection, and especially for kids who are younger, especially for kids who are not vaccinated. 

HOLT: We have seen Los Angeles County and other communities now begin to re-embrace the idea of mask mandates indoors for vaccinated and unvaccinated people. Is this going in a direction that you think the CDC is going to have to also embrace that strategy? 

MURTHY: Well, Lester, I think what L.A. County is doing is something you’re going to start seeing in the other parts of the country if cases rise in localities, continue to rise, and if the unvaccinated population remains low. And I think it’s very appropriate for localities to make these decisions about putting mitigation measures like masking back in place.

HOLT: Does this make a statement about the efficacy of the vaccines? Or is this simply a way of saying, “we simply don’t know who is vaccinated and who is not, so let’s put masks on everyone indoors?” 

MURTHY: Well, Lester, it’s not a statement about the efficacy of the vaccine. Because here’s what we’ve continued to see throughout this pandemic is that the vaccines remain highly effective, even against the variants that we’re seeing. The worry, though, is we’ve got millions of people in our country who are still unvaccinated. And what we don’t want to see are worsening numbers of cases, hospitalizations, and death. It’s already starting to happen.

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Breaking News; Murthy: Platforms Have ‘Responsibility to Reduce’ Misinformation]

HOLT: The administration has been critical of Facebook and social media for allowing some of these, you know, false hoax stories about vaccines to — to propagate out there. Is it fair to say that the administration failed to recognize the depth of resistance and the political depths that we’ve seen? 

MURTHY: Well, I think it was very clear from the beginning, Lester, that this was not going to be an easy vaccination campaign. The pandemic has been polarized and has been politicized in ways that have not been helpful. We all know that, and we are now dealing with, in part, the consequences of that and the consequences of misinformation that has spread rapidly around our country, aided in part by technology platforms. The platforms have a responsibility to reduce the spread of that misinformation because misinformation costs people their lives. 

HOLT: Part of my conversation earlier with Dr. Murthy.



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